No one knew that opening day 2016 would be a rematch of the 2015 World Series. The Mets and their fans had to sit and watch the Royals raise that championship banner. You could say “We’re ready to start fresh” till your blue in the face. But it’s like being asked to go back to a crime scene where someone ran over your dog. Except someone put a flag there to remind you that it happened. “Hi! Remember this team that destroyed your hopes and dreams a few months back? Here’s a banner and balloons!” There’s no way that the Mets players couldn’t feel that. There was just an unpleasant deja vu that hung in the air like poison.
Harvey took the mound clean shaven to start the first game of the season. My first thought is that he looked more like Bruce Wayne than the Dark Knight. When I think of the fierce flame throwing Dark Knight of gotham that our city loves, this is the guy I see:
That’s besides the point though. Even looking slightly less fierce, I expected him to come out with a fire. A rage from seeing that banner fly with the Royals name on it. But all Harvey and the Mets brought those first few innings were the ghosts from Game 5.
It didn’t help that ESPN was also constantly showing the bad throw Lucas Duda made at the plate, as well as a slew of other Mets fuck ups from that series. I assume they did this to kill any joy or hope Mets fans may have had when they sat down to watch this game.
Trouble started with Cespedes dropping a routine fly ball in the first inning. The man Mets fans looked at as their saving grace last season was picking up right where he left off in the World Series. Forget doing the unforgettable. He couldn’t even do the basics of what his position required.
Harvey fought back. He had some good innings. But by the top of the 8th the score was 4-0 Royals. The Mets surprised me though. Between a couple of walks and singles, the score was now a miraculous 4-3. “Oh my God. Can we do this? Can we shut up this whole stadium and the stupid announcers from ESPN?” Mostly the announcers on ESPN, who at this point I assume were just trying to send Mets fans into full blown cardiac arrest. But if the ESPN announcers didn’t kill Mets fans this evening, the top of the 9th surely did.
Runners on the corners. The Mets are fighting. I love it. The beloved Captain goes down on strikes. The ESPN announcers shit all over him. I quietly hope that one of them steps on a lego brick when they go home. Who else should come to the plate but the man himself, Cespedes. If there was ever a perfect time to redeem that error from the first inning this was it.
The count 0-2. This next part is a slight blur because I had my face covered while taking deep breaths in an out of my hands. I was so convinced if I didn’t look, I would hear the crack of the bat and a run score to at least tie the game. Several balls were fouled off just keeping him alive at the plate, but slowly killing me in my living room. And then I heard it:
“Swing and a miss! Strike 3! That’s the ballgame!”
If there’s one thing we can take away from this game it’s that the Mets can’t carry the ghosts or the glory from last year into a new season. Cespedes the savior was the role he previously played and I don’t think we can expect that again. The Mets aren’t going to have the one person that comes in to rescue them this year. They’re going to have to save themselves.